First meeting of Special Group on normalization of relations with Serbia under EU-Kosovo SAA

BRUSSELS – Representatives of the Kosovo Government and the European External Action Service and the European Commission met in Brussels to discuss developments over the past year in the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. The discussion was held in the framework of the regular Stabilisation and Association Agreement which entered into force in April 2016. In all areas, the European External Action Service, the European Commission and Kosovo agreed on the importance of implementing the agreements reached within the EU facilitated Dialogue, EU Delegation to Kosovo stated.

The Delegation said that participants reviewed the progress made by Kosovo in the implementation of all past agreements, the ones from the co-called Technical Dialogue, as well as the High Level Dialogue. A particular focus was put on the implementation of the agreements reached in August 2015.

On the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities, Kosovo reiterated its commitment to implement this agreement. European External Action Service and European Commission stressed the importance for Kosovo to start the work on the drafting of the statute of the Association/Community without any further delay. Both, Kosovo, as well as the European External Action Service and Commission underlined their satisfaction with the implementation of the agreement on Telecommunication in December 2016, which allowed Kosovo to get its own dial code and for a Serbian telecommunication company to be registered and licenced in Kosovo. Both sides reviewed progress on the implementation of the agreement on the Mitrovica Bridge and expressed their expectation for the works on the bridge, its adjacent areas and King Petar Street to be completed as soon as possible for the benefit of citizens from all communities. The European External Action Service and the Commission expressed their expectation to have progress on the implementation of the agreement on Energy as soon as possible.

The European External Action Service and the European Commission reiterated that progress on Kosovo’s path towards the EU is firmly linked to progress in the Dialogue. They called on  Kosovo to remain constructively engaged in the process of normalisation of relations with Serbia. Kosovo reiterated its full commitment to the Dialogue process and to its European future.

According to the background information which was offered by the Delegation, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement is the framework for the EU and the Kosovo administration to regularly discuss technical and policy issues in relation to the European agenda. The meetings provide direct input into the European Commission’s annual reports.

The Special Group on normalisation monitors and accompanies Kosovo’s delivery on its commitments under the EU facilitated Dialogue and identifies how the EU can further assist in this process.

There are seven areas under the SAA covered through sectorial meetings of sub-Committees, on Justice, Freedom and Security; Innovation, Information Society, Social Policy, Education and Culture; Trade, Industry, Customs and Taxation; Internal Market, Competition, Consumer and Health Protection; Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Food Safety; Transport, Environment, Energy, Regional Development; Economic and Financial Issues, Statistics.

Two other areas covered through the meetings of special groups the reform of the public administration and normalisation of relations with Serbia.

Stabilisation and Association Committee and Sub-Committee meetings are co-chaired by the European Commission and Kosovo. The Special Group on normalisation is co-chaired by the European External Action Service and Kosovo. Each meeting results in jointly agreed follow-up actions to be taken by the Kosovo authorities. The conclusions from the meetings are available on the website of the EU Office in Kosovo.

Source: EU Delegation to Kosovo